So one of the places I had always wanted to visit and have the “t-shirt” to prove it, was Beijing, China. It was a dream of mine to be able to stand in front of the famous gates to the “Forbidden City” better known nowadays as Tiananmen Square. It’s was also a surreal goal of mine to climb part of the New Wonder of the World, “Great Wall” of China. Now that my trip to this amazing place in the world has come and pass, it’s my wish to reflect a little on what experiences it presented as well as offer a few tips keeping in mind, “Ordinary people can travel to extra ordinary places”.
Email Me w/ any questions, I’m always willing to help…
To begin, as a US Citizen a Chinese Visa was required. Folks, you need to be warned upfront, the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, Illinois is NOT a friendly place. At one point, I thought to myself, I am doing you a favor by bringing tourism into your country but thanks to my patient travel mate, this passed and I did what was needed to get the visa. For further reading of all the details on the tourist visa, please click China Tourist Visa Requirements
So, once the visa was issued, it was just a matter of booking hotel and flight. The flight was a direct one from Chicago and it was approximately 13 hours. Being treated to the amazing experience of Business class proved to be worth each inch of this trip as sleeping flat for part of the way really made a difference. It was a decision made early on to go on my own for this trip (meaning, no tour company) and this ended up being a perfect choice.
Upon landing, it was amazing. I found myself in China. There’s only one China on earth and this is where I was now. So, once we checked into our hotel, we chose to stay at the Beijing Marriott Hotel City Walland this hotel is not only a wonderful hotel both priced well and great sized rooms but the location is only a short 5 minute walk to the nearest train station. And probably the greatest part of this hotel was their breakfast buffet which was included in our package and worth EVERY PENNY as it allowed us to not have to venture out and served a wide range of American, European, Chinese food.
Since our trip didn’t consist of a travel agency arranging all tours for us, it’s important to know that the public transportation in Beijing is simply AMAMZING. One word of advice, be sure to take a card from the hotel with the name of the hotel and popular sights written in Chinese. This is to help you get around more easily as not everyone speaks English. Here’s a link to Beijing Subway Map. This system allowed us to see 90% of all the sights we wanted to see and are greatful for this.
The list of sights most visited while here – and of course were part of my list too, you can find below. I have decided to devote a page to each one as there is a good amount of information to be given for each one. As these are my choices and what my interests target, there are tons more activities to engage in there which are not listed.
– Forbidden City
– Summer Palace
– The Hutongs
– TEmple of Harvest
– Great Wall of China
So, in retrospect it is my forever deep gratitude to all the people we came across who made this trip memorable. At no time did we ever feel people were cold or didn’t welcome us. If ever we had a question, everyone would attempt to assist us and this was a wonderful thing. Outside of this, after all the horrible things written and said about China is not what I saw nor how I walked away from this trip.
In my future, I will be going back and would recommend anyone and everyone interested in Chinese history visit this amazing spot on earth. Cause remember folks, “ordinary people can travel to extra ordinary places”….